LONDON (Reuters) – The Scottish Parliament on Tuesday approved plans to make sanitary products available to all women, the first nation in the world to do so.
Feminine hygiene products are seen in a pharmacy in London, Britain, March 18, 2016. Prime Minister David Cameron won support at an EU summit on Thursday to end self – saying “stamp tax” which has become political football for the British campaigning to leave the EU in a referendum in June. / Photo taken on November 26, 2018 / REUTERS / Stefan Wermuth
The legislation would make tampons and sanitary pads available in designated public places such as community centers, youth clubs and pharmacies, at an estimated annual cost of £ 24.1 million ($ 31.2 million).
The Scottish period products (free supply) bill went through its first phase with 112 votes in favor, no against and one abstention. He now proceeds to the second stage, where members of the Scottish decentralized Parliament can propose amendments.
During the debate, the proponent of the bill, Monica Lennon, declared that the adoption of this bill would constitute a “decisive moment to normalize menstruation in Scotland and send this real signal to the inhabitants of this country on the seriousness with which Parliament takes gender equality ”.
MP Alison Johnstone asked, “Why is it that toilet paper is considered a necessity in 2020, but not vintage products?” Being financially penalized for a natural bodily function is neither fair nor just. ”
In 2018, Scotland became the first country in the world to provide free health products to schools, colleges and universities.
Health products in the UK are currently taxed at 5%. The government of former Prime Minister David Cameron has declared that it wants to end this “buffer tax”, but that its hands are bound by European Union rules which set tax rates for certain products .
The government has announced that it will lower the tax in 2016, but that hasn’t happened yet.
Earlier on Tuesday, Lennon joined a rally outside the Scottish parliament and held a sign saying, “Access to menstrual products is a right. Period.”
($ 1 = 0.7714 pounds)
Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; edited by William Maclean and John Stonestreet